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Farrell Fellowship Application

Application Information

The spring application cycle for the 2021-2022 Farrell Fellowship has closed. There will be a second application cycle before the fall 2021 quarter for additional projects that are hiring for the academic year.

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2021-2022 Farrell Fellowship Projects

Professor Jaime Dominguez | Chicago Democracy Project

Project: The Chicago Democracy Project (CDP) is a user-friendly database that houses federal, state and local election results. It continues to serve as a resource for scholars, students, and local nonprofits so they can conduct specific analyses of the data. Over the past year, we were able to conduct analyses of the 2020 presidential elections including examining competitive races at the congressional level. We also examined ballot initiatives such as the graduate income tax. For the upcoming year, the goal is to put together a series of reports that look at registration, turnout, and outcomes for specific aldermanic elections.

The Farrell Fellows will continue this effort and conduct original research using the database. There will also be updates to existing databases and fellows will gather data from suburban Cook County jurisdictions to include elections in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th congressional races. In addition, fellows will update US Census and demographic data taken from the 2021 American Community Survey. Fellows will join a research team and work with faculty and graduate students connected to the CDP.

Seeking: Two Fellows for the summer and academic year (June 2021 – May 2022). Position can be held in conjunction with other work study positions, internships, or research assistantships.

Research Training & Outcomes

The Fellows will:

  • Collect elections return data and incorporate demographic Census information into the database
  • Analyze election results using statistical and GIS software
  • Write text interpretations that make election results and data meaningful to the public

The Fellows will join the existing research team and a scholarly community of support so that they can utilize this experience to build more academic agency in their overall academic program at NU. In particular, Fellows will gain:

  • Concrete skills and experience working with electoral data and using creativity to answer interesting questions about local politics.
  • Experience using research tools including GIS, Stata, and the coding of election data.
  • A greater understanding of and affection for public policy so as to engage in political debate.

Preferred skills and experience: 

  • Interest in engaging with data analysis software and with voting trends in city politics
  • Interest in urban politics, policy analysis, and advocacy
  • Experience using Excel, Stata, and/or GIS is helpful but not required (training will be provided)

Learn more about Professor Jaime Dominguez  |  Apply Here

Professor Jamie Druckman | COVID States Project

Project: The COVID States project is a multi-disciplinary team studying the impact of COVID-19 on Americans. The project implements ongoing surveys with large samples of every state in the country. This allows us to study both the temporal and spatial aspects of COVID-19. A primary objective is to understand how people, especially members of vulnerable communities, adapt to and make sense of a national crisis that also has important and immediate ramifications for their daily lives. The project’s work thus far, including reports, data, and blog posts, can be viewed on the project website. The team will continue data collection through 2022.

The 2021-22 Farrell Fellows will join a research team and work with Professor Druckman and other student researchers to continue working on the project. Their tasks range from constructing codebooks, overseeing aspects of data collection, data analyses, and co-authoring reports.

Seeking: One Fellow for the summer (June - September 2021) and two Fellows for the academic year (September 2021 – May 2022). Position can be held in conjunction with other work study positions, internships, or research assistantships.

Research Training & Outcomes

The Fellows will:

  • Assist with constructing codebooks and overseeing aspects of data collection and data analyses
  • Collaborate on co-authoring reports
  • Take on a directed project related to their particular interests. Each Fellow will choose a topic of particular interest (e.g. trust in government, racial disparities) and will work with Professor Druckman to develop a research plan to explore the topic with the extant data, collect new data on the topic, and produce a co-authored report on the topic.

The Fellows will have the opportunity to both collaborate with a team on a big project, and also explore a topic and produce work that suits their specific interests. The Fellows will learn how to conduct research from start to finish and produce not only academic papers, but also public-facing reports.

Preferred Skills and Experience

  • Familiarity with data analyses and data organization

Learn more about Professor Jamie Druckman  |  Apply Here

Professor Loubna El Amine | Beyond Freedom and Slavery: Status and Membership in the Ancient Confucian Political Community

Project: This book project is motivated by the question of how the ancient Chinese conceptualized the political community in the absence of the freedom and slavery duality that has been so central to political thinking in the West. I reconstruct the ancient Confucian conception of the political community on the basis of the portrayal, in the Five “Confucian” Classics, of those persons who occupy low positions in the social hierarchy: women, concubines, servants, peasants, artisans, convicts, and foreigners.

Seeking: One Fellow for the summer and academic year (June 2021 – May 2022). Position can be held in conjunction with other work study positions, internships, or research assistantships.

Research Training & Outcomes

The Fellow will:

  • Search for, read, summarize, and annotate the contemporary secondary literature in both Chinese and English on topics related to the book project
  • Engage in discussions about the arguments made in the literature, the research as it develops, and the book’s ideas
  • Learn how to write good précis of articles and books, summarizing succinctly the main arguments and using proper citation form
  • Gain first-hand experience of how research in political theory, and especially the history of political thought, proceeds

Preferred skills and experience: 

  • Critical reading skills
  • Proficiency in reading modern, and also ideally Classical, Chinese

Learn more about Professor Loubna El Amine  |  Apply Here

Professor Jordan Gans-Morse | Russian Studies and Comparative Politics

Project: Three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, to what extent has Russian Studies been integrated into the broader field of Comparative Politics? On the one hand, the Soviet collapse opened numerous possibilities for analyzing Russia in comparative perspective, both because Russia’s post-Soviet regimes have been less clearly sui generis than communist totalitarianism and because contemporary Russia has remained sufficiently open for scholars to obtain data in numerous and novel forms. On the other hand, Russia’s geopolitical stature, expansive geography, and legacy as the former heart of a communist empire continue to present challenges for scholars seeking to apply lessons gleaned from Russia to other contexts, and vice versa.

This project addresses the question of the extent to which Russian Studies has been integrated into Comparative Politics, drawing on content analysis of Political Science journals, investigation of hiring trends in Political Science departments, and a literature review of debates over critical topics such as democratization, authoritarian institutions, clientelism, and the politics of economic reform and development.

Seeking: Two Fellows for the summer (June 2021 - September 2021). Position can be held in conjunction with other work study positions, internships, or research assistantships.

Research training & outcomes

The Fellows will:

  • Analysis content of articles from political science and comparative politics journals. We will be creating a data set for the years 1977-2017 based on eight journals and coding articles by their geographic and thematic focus.
  • Create a dataset about the geographic expertise of political scientists at universities throughout the United States. This will require analyzing data from scholars' websites and, potentially, conducting a survey of political science PhD candidates.
  • Conduct basic analyses using descriptive statistics and help make tables for a conference paper that may eventually be a journal article
This project provides an opportunity to learn first-hand how research is conducted. Fellows will observe the development of a research project from the stages of data collection, through the process of data analysis, and up through the later stages of drafting a conference paper.

Preferred skills and experience: 

  • Ideally, applicants will be expected to have taken Introduction to Comparative Politics (Poli Sci 250) or a course that covers similar material. Knowledge of the former Soviet Union is not required.
  • Students who are also majoring or minoring in Computer Science with data scraping or machine learning skills should especially consider applying.
  • The ideal candidate will have a strong attention to detail and be capable of reading and analyzing large amounts of material.

Learn more about Professor Jordan Gans-Morse Apply Here

Professors Dan Krcmaric, Stephen Nelson, & Andrew Roberts | Billionaires in Politics Around the World

Project: There is increasing suspicion that ultra-high net worth individuals have an inordinate influence on politics, not just in the U.S. but around the world. Yet there is relatively little systematic, data-driven research demonstrating this influence. Our project takes on one aspect of this influence: the direct participation of billionaires in politics. We are attempting to determine the degree to which billionaires around the world hold office as presidents, ministers, legislators, governors, and mayors. We then plan to search for patterns in this participation, such as types of office held and individual-level and country-level determinants of office holding.

Past Farrell Fellows and research assistants collected extensive biographical and political participation data for about 2,000 billionaires in our dataset. The summer 2021 Fellow will continue building on this work by carefully researching and extracting information from biographies of a variety of different billionaires across the world and adding the information to the dataset.

Seeking: One Fellow for the summer (June 2021 - September 2021). Position can be held in conjunction with other work study positions, internships, or research assistantships.

Research training & outcomes

The Fellow will:

  • Research the biographies of billionaires on Forbes’ list of world billionaires and search for evidence of political offices held by these billionaires using online databases like Gale’s Biography in Context, Marquis’ Biographies Online, or EBSCO’s Current Biography as well as Wikipedia and other country-specific sources
  • Document the results in a spreadsheet, following protocols for data collection, preservation, and cleaning.
  • Other tasks might include gathering political statements of these billionaires, researching their involvement in scandals, or compiling immunity laws across countries.
  • If the Fellow is interested, they may explore subsections of the data and write their own analyses (e.g., by focusing on billionaires in a specific country or region) which could form the basis of a future honors thesis or independent study.

This project will involve research in countries around the world and will enable the Farrell Fellow to become familiar with political and economic frameworks outside the U.S. and to develop valuable research experience. In particular, the Fellow will gain:

  • Knowledge of politics around the globe and the richest people in the world
  • Skills regarding creating, coding, and maintaining a database
  • Experience in the research process by learning how a project evolves and develops over the course of its lifespan

 Preferred skills and experience: 

  • Experience using Microsoft Excel and/or Stata software
  • Language skills in major world languages (Chinese, Russian, Spanish, French) may be helpful but are not required

Learn more about Professors Krcmaric, Nelson, and Roberts Apply Here

Professor Kimberly Marion Suiseeya | Indigenous Politics in the Anthropocene

Project: Global environmental challenges, including climate change, biodiversity loss, desertification, deforestation, and multiple forms of pollution, require unprecedented cooperation, innovation, and creativity to address. Moreover, because the drivers, impacts, and capabilities related to global environmental change are unequally distributed, discussions on social justice and human rights have become essential for developing effective responses to environmental challenges. Although scholars, practitioners, policy-makers, and communities across diverse fields, sectors, and geographies have created knowledge and experimented with solutions to address these challenges, these global problems remain entrenched. Solving them, thus not only requires cooperation and creativity, but innovating new forms of knowledge exchange and sharing. Today, these global environmental challenges demand transdisciplinary research.

In this project, we seek to identify and understand the opportunities for developing transdisciplinary research approaches for addressing global environmental challenges. Drawing out synergies between two fields—Indigenous politics and global environmental politics—we will first survey the landscape of existing research in order to synthesize and develop insights to inform new methodological approaches for understanding politics in the Anthropocene.

Seeking: One Fellow for the summer and academic year (June 2021 – May 2022). Position can be held in conjunction with other work study positions, internships, or research assistantships.

Research training and outcomes 

The Fellow will participate in the following research activities:

  • Design and conduct a systematic literature review
  • Draft annotated bibliographies and thematic review summaries
  • Assist with data organization and file management
  • Update project website and library

The Fellow will join a team of researchers and will have the opportunity to work with scholars and students from a variety of disciplines including political science, anthropology, political ecology, and ecological sciences, among others. This will help enhance the student’s interdisciplinary literacy and expose her/him to alternative ways of understanding and examining questions in political science. Additionally, the Fellow will gain:

  • Experience in collaborative approaches to research and how team-based research unfolds across different stages of research.
  • Substantive knowledge around Indigenous politics, environmental politics, and transdisciplinary methodologies while also gaining
  • Transferrable research skills, such as surveying, organizing, and synthesizing research to answer empirical research questions.
  • Training in qualitative data analysis techniques and programs, data management and archival curation, professional web-based communication skills, and research ethics.

Preferred Experience: 

  • The ideal candidate will demonstrate excellent attention to detail, experience with web-based communication, and skills with Excel, NVivo, and EndNote (or be willing to learn).
  • Must be comfortable and capable of dealing with and organizing large amounts of diverse types of data
  • Self-driven and able to work independently
  • Spanish or French language ability is a plus, but not required.

Learn more about Professor Kimberly Marion Suiseeya  |  Apply Here

Professor Sara Monoson | Summoning Socrates

Project: Summoning Socrates is the newest phase of multi-year project that was once called "Socrates in the Vernacular.” The project is a collection of examples of the use of some aspect of the story of Socrates by 20th and 21st century actors to advance their own concerns in their own time. It is a study of the. intersection of the "afterlife of Socrates" and the construction of unusable pasts. Along the way, it maps twists and turns in cultural history.

Past Farrell Fellows have helped assemble over 300 sources, shape the categories of our catalog, and to digitize the physical archive. Along with this archive, the project has produced a public website featuring created examples, an upcoming book, and a graphic novel on the trial of Socrates. The collection of sources from the U.S. is robust and we are working to expand the international materials. Past Farrell Fellows have helped in this regard by collecting sources in Arabic, French, Spanish, and Dutch.

Seeking: Two Fellows for the summer and academic year (June 2021 - May 2022). Position can be held in conjunction with other work study positions, internships, or research assistantships.

Research training and outcomes

The Fellows will:

  • Search out and record new source examples, including sources in languages other than English.
  • Assist with organizing and building the catalog of new and existing sources
  • Track citations and do bibliographical work related to the conceptual issues that shape the project as a whole (the idea of "summoning")
  • Provide their own contributions to the development of the project based on their individual interests and skills

The Fellows will gain:

  • Technical skills in creating a data set (searching out, assembling, and cataloging materials) and examining the material for themes and patterns
  • Experience working with a team to advance a collaborative project
  • Improve their capacity for reflection on the shape of contemporary discourse

Preferred skills and experience:

  • Knowledge of languages beyond English is helpful but not required
  • Familiarity with, or interest in, political theory and the story of Socrates
  • Experience reading and summarizing theoretical texts

Learn more about Professor Sara Monoson  |  Apply Here

Professor Wendy Pearlman | Syrian Identity: Narratives of Belonging and Home

Project: Ten years since Syria’s popular uprising evolved into war, hundreds of thousands have been killed or disappeared, over half the population of 22 million has been forced from their homes, and material destruction registers in the hundreds of billions of dollars. For citizens whose life trajectories have been upturned by conflict, violent upheaval is transforming not only Syria, but also their sense of what it means to be Syrian. Under such conditions, what is home? How do the displaced find belonging and rootedness between a homeland that is saturated with indignities as well as nostalgia, and a new residence that remains tinted with the strangeness of a foreign land?

Professor Pearlman’s next book project will center on these questions and examine them using interpretive analysis of interviews that she has conducted with more than 450 displaced Syrians throughout the Middle East and Europe since 2012, including dozens of interviews conducted remotely since 2020. The 2021-22 Farrell Fellows will collaborate with Professor Pearlman and the student research team to continue working on this project.

Seeking: One or two Fellows for the summer and/or academic year (June 2021 - May 2022). Position can be held in conjunction with other work study positions, internships, or research assistantships.

Research training and outcomes: 

The 2021-22 Farrell Fellows will work together with Professor Pearlman and any other student research team members to:
  • Help situate interview data in a larger context by searching for, reading, and/or summarizing published academic or nonacademic works by Syrian writers and/or writings on home, belonging, and identity, in general
  • Transcribe audio interviews using a transcription program and correct errors in the computer-generated transcript in order to produce a clean, accurate transcript
  • Code interview transcripts after gaining technical fluency in NVivo software and becoming proficient in the project codebook and its logic of key terms, concepts, ideas, and expressions
  • Carefully read interview transcripts (and other collected documents) and code them in NVivo.
  • Write memos reflecting on the data and offer their own ideas for analysis (i.e. identify research questions, empirical patterns, etc.)

This project focuses fully on gaining, using, and sharpening widely-applicable and transferable skills in research analysis and will help students develop tools to do their own independent projects in the future. In addition, the Fellows will gain:

  • Substantive expertise on the Syrian conflict
  • Technical fluency in transcription and coding
  • General skills in qualitative analysis, interpretive analysis, and coding qualitative data
  • Experience working with a research team in a spirit of partnership and camaraderie.

Preferred skills and experience: 

  • While not required, interest or background in Middle East politics, Syria, refugees, and/or diasporas are preferred, as is having taken Poli Sci 351: Middle East Politics
  • Skills or experience with NVivo, coding qualitative data, transcription, or working with interviews is a plus
  • Students with knowledge of Arabic are especially encouraged to apply.

Learn more about Professor Wendy Pearlman  |  Apply Here

Professor Jacqueline Stevens | Knowing Citizens: Privacy, Secrecy, and the Rule of Law

Project: This is an ongoing project in which Farrell Fellows do hands-on research investigating the implications of government privacy and secrecy for the rule of law. Specific topics include Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemptions on so-called national security grounds; the use by military contractors of offset payments; and the competing privacy and good government interests brought to the fore by recent rule changes sealing immigration court proceedings in the federal court electronic database, PACER. Past Farrell Fellow research has resulted in works in progress on immigration judge misconduct, the unlawful deportation of U.S. citizens, and dollar per day payments to those in custody under immigration laws. The media regularly report on findings to which the students contribute. Ongoing research can be viewed on the project website.

Seeking: Two Fellows for the summer and academic year (June 2021 - May 2022). Position can be held in conjunction with other work study positions, internships, or research assistantships.

Research training and outcomes 

The Fellow will:

  • File, track, and assist in litigating requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
  • Perform original legal research using academic legal databases
  • Depending on interest, Fellows may co-author research articles
  • Develop professional scholarly research and investigative skills, including working knowledge of numerous databases and techniques useful for further academic research and investigative journalism.
  • Learn research methods and tools including data analysis, HTML, website management

Preferred skills and experience: 

  • Strong communication skills
  • The ability to problem-solve, work independently, and be persistent in acquiring information
  • Experience with HTML and Excel is helpful, but can be learned on the job
  • Some experience with statistical analysis is preferable, but not required

Learn more about Professor Jacqueline Stevens  |  Apply Here

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